Constitution Hill thriving following Tolworth Triumph

Nicky Henderson reports Constitution Hill to be “as fresh as paint” the morning after his demolition job in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

Hugely impressive on his debut under Rules over the same course and distance a month ago, the five-year-old took the step up to Grade One level in his stride with a 12-length success.

Henderson, who was forced to watch the race from home after contracting Covid-19, could not be happier with how his charge has recovered from his exertions.

Speaking on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme, the trainer said: “He was amazing (this morning). You’d hardly know he’d been anywhere yesterday – he looks as if he’d had a day in bed! That’s him – he’s as fresh as paint.

“He’s extraordinary because in all his slow paces, they’re not slow – they’re even slower than slow!

“But if you put him in behind a couple of horses, you don’t know that you’re sitting on anything until you pull him out and say ‘come on’ and it is like changing gear – he just takes off.

“He does it very quickly and very honestly. He loves schooling and loves work and has an extraordinary attitude to life.”

Constitution Hill’s victory saw him join stablemate Jonbon at the head of the ante-post betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March.

And while Henderson would not be against allowing his two star novices to do battle in the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser, he is not ruling out the possibility of one stepping up in distance for the two-mile-five-furlong Ballymore.

Jonbon in action at Sandown
Jonbon in action at Sandown (Steven Paston/PA)

He added: “Jonbon is a very, very good horse. I’m lucky that I’m the person that doesn’t have to split them – you’d be lucky to have one.

“They both look like two milers. The only way you could force the issue is to come to conclusion that one of them would get another half-mile.

“It interesting because a few years ago we had Simonsig, who was very strong. He looked like a two miler, but we actually ran him in the two-and-a-half, which he won very easily.

“I suppose you would (enter both horses in both novice hurdles). I’d need to speak to JP (McManus, Jonbon’s owner) and Michael (Buckley, Constitution Hill’s owner) and see if they’re both happy to do that.

“Both horses look as good as we’ve got anyway. They look like two milers, to be honest.”

Henderson also provided a positive update on the well being of Shishkin ahead of a potential clash with the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 22.

He said: “At the moment we’re preparing as if (we’re going to run).

“I cannot promise that’s what’s going to happen. I’d like Nico (de Boinville) to have a sit on him at the end of this week and he’s very good at being able to tell me – he was the one who told me (to run) before Kempton.

“If we’re happy next weekend, there’s every possibility he will go to Ascot.”

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